From The Temple Bombing

Melissa Fay Greene (b. 1952) is the author of five books of nonfiction, variously translated into a total of fifteen languages: Praying for Sheetrock (1991), The Temple Bombing (1996), Last Man Out (2003), There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children (2006), and No Biking in the House Without a Helmet (Sarah Crichton Books, 2011). Praying for Sheetrock was named one of the top one hundred works of American journalism of the twentieth century by the New York University School of Journalism. She has been the recipient of two National Book Award citations, a National Book Critics Circle citation, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award, and other honors, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Emory University. Greene’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Newsweek, Washington Post, LIFE, Elle, Redbook, the Wilson Quarterly, and other periodicals. She and her husband, defense attorney Don Samuel, live in Atlanta and are the parents of nine. (Inducted in 2011)

A Brief Account of the Adventures of My Appropriated Kinsman, Juan Ortiz, Indian Captive, Soldier, and Guide to General Hernando de Soto

Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–2016), as a young girl, emigrated with her family from Puerto Rico to Paterson, New Jersey; when she was a teenager her family relocated to Augusta. Ortiz Cofer was the author of several novels, including If I Could Fly (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), Call Me Maria (2004), and The Line of the Sun (1989); poetry collections such as A Love Story Beginning in Spanish (2005), Reaching for the Mainland (1995), and Terms of Survival (1987); a memoir, The Cruel Country (UGA Press, 2015); two essay collections, Lessons From a Writer’s Life (Heinemann Books, 2011) and Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer (2000); and many other works, including three children’s titles with Piñata Books / Arte Público Press—¡A Bailar! (2011), The Poet Upstairs (2012), and Animal Jamboree / La fiesta de los animales (2012). Ortiz Cofer’s work appeared in The Georgia Review, Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, Glamour, and many other periodicals, as well as in numerous textbooks and anthologies. Ortiz Cofer, who in 2010 was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.

The Tip

Philip Lee Williams (b. 1950) is the author of seventeen books, among them twelve novels, three works of nonfiction, and two volumes of poetry. His latest novel, Emerson’s Brother (Mercer University Press, 2012), is about the mentally challenged brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson; a thousand-page novel, The Divine Comics (2011), is a modern re-imagining and updating of Dante’s Divine Comedy; and The Flower Seeker: An Epic Poem of William Bartram (2010) was named Book of the Year by Books & Culture magazine. Williams’ books have been translated into Swedish, German, French, and Japanese and have appeared in large-print editions as well. A science writer and a teacher of creative writing at the University of Georgia for many years, Williams retired in 2012. He lives with his family in rural Oconee County, Georgia. (Inducted in 2010)

A Red Canoe & An Absence

David Bottoms (b. 1949) had his Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump (1980) selected by Robert Penn Warren for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award for best first book by an American poet. Bottoms has gone on to publish six more poetry collections, most recently We Almost Disappear (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), and two novels, Any Cold Jordan (1987) and Easter Weekend (1990). His work has appeared widely in journals and magazines such as the Paris Review, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Kenyon Review, and the New Republic, and his many honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. From 2000 to 2012 he served as Georgia’s poet laureate. At Georgia State University, where Bottoms has taught for some thirty years, he is John B. and Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters. (Inducted in 2009)

“I Know What the Earth Says”: From an Interview with Alice Walker

William R. Ferris is the author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). His next book, The Storied South: Conversations with Writers and Artists, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in the fall of 2013. At the University of North Carolina Ferris is a professor in the history department, adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Folklore, and senior associate director of the Center for Study of the American South.

Uncle Remus, No Friend of Mine

Alice Walker (b. 1944) has produced a large body of work that includes poetry, essays, and fiction, perhaps most notably her classic novel The Color Purple (1982), which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and the influential critical text In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983). Her most recent books include Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine / Israel (2010); Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems (2010); and The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, The Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir (The New Press, 2011). Born in Eatonton, Walker became active in the civil rights and feminist movements as a young woman, and these passions informed her artistic path throughout her career, as she has continued her activism for social and environmental justice. She is also known for championing the work of other writers: her anthology I Love Myself When I Am Laughing . . . and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (1979) helped bring Hurston’s books back into print and prompted a revaluation of her career. Walker currently lives in Mendocino, California. (Inducted in 2001)

The Earth Is the Lord’s but He’s Giving It to the Meek (symposium talk)

James Kilgo (1941–2002) was born in Darlington, South Carolina. He graduated from Wofford College, then went on to receive his MA and PhD in American Literature from Tulane University. In 1967 he joined the faculty of the English department at the University of Georgia, where he remained until his retirement in 1999. Though he didn’t begin his creative writing career until he was well into his 30s, by the time he died in 2002 Kilgo had become an author both critically acclaimed and widely-read. His books include the essay collections Deep Enough for Ivorybills (1988) and Inheritance of Horses (1994); the Townsend Prize–winning novel Daughter of My People (1998); and the posthumously released autobiographical travel narrative Colors of Africa (2003). He also wrote The Blue Wall: Wilderness of the Carolinas and Georgia (1996) in collaboration with photographer Thomas Wyche, and in 1999 published the memoir The Hand-Carved Creche and Other Christmas Stories. (Inducted in 2011)

Ty Cobb and the Book That Wasn’t

Terry Kay (b. 1938) of Hart County, Georgia, is the author of twelve novels, including the celebrated coming-of-age tale The Year the Lights Came On (1976), which drew on his memories of the small town of Royston in the 1940s. Kay enjoyed a long career in journalism and public relations, interviewing some of the world’s most famous entertainers in his work as a film and theater critic; his novels The Year the Lights Came On and Shadow Song (1994) grew out of magazine pieces he’ d written. His 1990 novel To Dance with the White Dog, inspired by his parents’ long marriage, was internationally successful and was adapted for television for the Hallmark Hall of Fame series—as were The Year the Lights Came On and After Eli (1981). Kay has also published a children’s book, To Whom the Angel Spoke: A Story of the Christmas (1991), and a collection of columns and essays, Special Kay: The Wisdom of Terry Kay (2000). One of Georgia’s best-known living writers, Kay has received numerous honors, including the Georgia Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Stanley W. Lindberg Award for outstanding contribution to the literary heritage of Georgia. He resides in Athens with Tommie, his wife of fifty-three years. (Inducted in 2006)

Catkins; A Perfect New Moon; & Piecemeal

Coleman Barks, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, has since 1977 collaborated with various scholars of the Persian language (most notably, John Moyne) to bring over into American free verse the poetry of the thirteenth-century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi. This work has resulted in twenty-one volumes, including the bestselling Essential Rumi in 1995. He has also published eight volumes of his own poetry, including Hummingbird Sleep: Poems 2009–2011 (2012) and Winter Sky: Poems 1968–2008 (2008), both from the University of Georgia Press.